Practice Areas

Family law: Property division

A couple filing for divorce is required to settle their property as well. All the assets, properties, and debts that are obtained during the course of the marriage are subject to equitable distribution, according to the New Jersey family law. As the matters involving property can turn contentious, it is recommended to hire an attorney to give you counsel and help you protect your assets.

The state of New Jersey is an ‘equitable distribution’ state. Equitable does not mean equal. Instead, the property and debts are divided fairly between the couple seeking a divorce, which doesn’t necessarily amount to a uniform distribution. A couple can settle the matter of property within themselves without going to court. As opposed to litigation, it is a cost-effective and amicable method. Yet, if the couple disagrees on the terms and requires a trial, the court considers various factors when dividing the couple’s debts and property. These factors are:

  1. The duration of the marriage or civil union.
  2. The age and physical and emotional health of the parties.
  3. The income or property brought to the marriage or civil union by each party.
  4. The standard of living established during the marriage or civil union.
  5. Any written agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage or civil union concerning an arrangement of property distribution.
  6. The economic circumstances of each party at the time the division of property becomes effective.
  7. The income and earning capacity of each party, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market, custodial responsibilities for children, and the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party to become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage or civil union. 
  8. The contribution by each party to the education, training or earning power of the other. 
  9. The contribution of each party to the acquisition, dissipation, preservation, depreciation or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property, or the property acquired during the civil union as well as the contribution of a party as a homemaker. 
  10. The tax consequences of the proposed distribution to each party. 
  11. The present value of the property. 
  12. The need of a parent who has physical custody of a child to own or occupy the marital residence or residence shared by the partners in a civil union couple and to use or own the household effects. 
  13. The debts and liabilities of the parties. 
  14. The need for creation, now or in the future, of a trust fund to secure reasonably foreseeable medical or educational costs for a spouse, partner in a civil union couple or children. 
  15. The extent to which a party deferred achieving their career goals. 
  16. Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.

Alongside these factors, the courts take into account any factor that might be relevant to the case and can affect the property division. It is important to note that the property subject to division is only the ‘marital property.’ It means only the property and debts acquired during the marriage can be divided amongst the couple, even if it bears one of the spouse’s names. Any debt, property, or other assets that were brought into the marriage by an individual is treated as ‘separate property’ and cannot be divided. Separate property also includes assets obtained after filing the Complaint for divorce. It is essential to be aware of this law to be able to evaluate your property thoroughly and correctly. An experienced attorney can assess your assets and provide you with the necessary options that protect your rights.

Our family law attorneys at Bhuchar Law Firm have plenty of experience helping clients with property division during separation or divorces. They ensure your rights and assets are protected by carefully evaluating your case. They are meticulous with their preparation, taking care to look for any hidden assets, deliberate or otherwise. If you prefer to settle your case out of court, our attorneys can help you draft the divorce agreement, which includes division of property along with other aspects of divorce such as alimony, child custody, child support, etc. It certainly allows you to avoid litigation and save valuable time and money. If you have more questions, kindly book a consultation with our firm.